What We Are
The Port Washington Fire Department is a not for profit private corporation providing contractual public safety services to the area known as the Port Washington Fire Protection District. The Port Washington Fire Protection District is an 11 square mile area on the Northern Peninsula of Nassau County Long Island that includes:
- Incorporated Village of Sands Point
- Incorporated Village of Port Washington North
- Incorporated Village of Manorhaven
- Incorporated Village of Baxter Estates
- Portions of the Incorporated Village of Plandome Manor
- Portions of the Incorporated Village of Flower Hill
- Portions of the Unincorporated areas of the Town of North Hempstead
Who We Are
The Port Washington Fire Department is one of the largest and busiest volunteer fire departments in New York State. As of 2018, we have over 290 active volunteer members. We average over 3,200 calls for help each year.
The Port Washington Fire Department is one of the most diverse groups you will find around. Our members come from different backgrounds including education, race, age, and sex. We have women and men of all ages all joining with one common goal: to protect the lives and properties of our fellow residents.
The majority of our membership also resides in the Port Washington Fire Protection District.
Our mission is to protect and preserve the life and property of the residents of our district. We are committed to doing this through the provision of quality cost-effective services in the areas of fire suppression/education, emergency medicine, as well as disasters and other incidents where loss of life or destruction of property is threatened.
How We Are Organized
The Port Washington Fire Department contracts with the Town of North Hempstead along with the individual incorporated villages to provide primary fire and Emergency Medical services. Within the Port Washington Fire Department there are four separate companies each responsible for a different facet of fire or EMS operation. Each company has its own officers, and operates independently of each other with regards to matters of business.
The Port Washington Fire Department has three Chiefs (Chief of Department, 1st Assistant Chief, and 2nd Assistant Chief) that are elected, upon meeting strict candidacy and training/certification requirements, every two years by the members of the four companies. The Chiefs are ultimately responsible for the operations of the Port Washington Fire Department while an administrative board of directors, comprised of delegates from each of the four companies, is ultimately responsible for the fiscal affairs of the Port Washington Fire Department, Inc.
Our Training, Apparatus and Response
The Port Washington Fire Department maintains a state-of-the-art fleet of Fire and EMS apparatus. Additionally, our firefighters are trained at the Nassau County Fire Service Academy, which has been recognized as one of the best Fire training facilities in the nation. Our EMS providers are trained at a variety of academies including the Nassau County Fire/Police EMS Academy, the Nassau EMS Academy (VEEB), and the Center for Emergency Training at North Shore University Hospital.
Our members are properly trained and equipped to handle the various situations they may face during their membership. While every call and situation is different, the Port Washington Fire Department makes sure that our member’s safety comes first.
The Port Washington Fire Department also maintains a number of firehouses that are strategically placed throughout the district to ensure adequate response times to all portions.
Does the PWFD Charge for each call?
No. The Port Washington Fire Department provides its services on a yearly contractual basis with the local towns and villages. We do not directly bill residents (or anyone else) for the use of our services. This applies to both fire and EMS/Ambulance services.
I need to go to the hospital, but it’s not really an emergency…
A common misconception is that we provide non-emergency ambulance service, such as taking a person to the doctors office or hospital for a routine visit or procedure. Our priority is to provide emergency ambulance service to the residents of the Port Washington Fire Protection District, and are unable to provide non-emergency transports due to call volume and resource utilization. There are a number of commercial ambulance services in Nassau County that can provide non-emergency transport and are covered by most insurance companies and HMO plans.
Do I just dial 911 for help?
Contrary to the belief of many, 911 in Nassau County does not handle Fire or EMS calls for the entire county. The Nassau County Fire Communications (FireCom) center in Westbury dispatches Fire and EMS calls for the vast majority of Nassau County’s 71 Fire Departments. The Port Washington Fire Department is one of these departments. FireCom and the Port Washington Fire Department have an excellent working relationship to ensure that the residents of our district are provided with timely and accurate dispatch and response.
Dialing 911 will get the Port Washington Fire Department to respond, however, there may be delays in getting the call from 911 to FireCom, and therefore, it is recommended that all residents of the Port Washington Fire Protection district dial 742-3300 whenever they need to report a fire or request an emergency ambulance.
Another common mistake residents make is dialing either the Port Washington (883-0500) or Sands Point (883-3100) police departments to report a fire or request an ambulance. This, like dialing 911, can cause delays in getting trucks or ambulances to the scene.
The Port Washington Fire Department will gladly supply you with phone stickers that list the correct numbers to dial in the event of an emergency. To request a set of stickers, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name, and address so we can mail them to you.
How Does The PWFD Get an Alarm?
Calls for the Port Washington Fire Department are actually dialed into Westbury. FireCom utilizes a special voice paging system that transmits calls to individual departments.
Each firehouse has an alerting system that goes off internally to alert members on premises of a call. Additionally, members carry pagers that go off when there is a call. The pager audibly transmits the voice of the dispatcher, much like a portable walky-talky, except that these pagers can only receive and not transmit. The dispatcher indicates the type of call, the location of the call, and what type of response is needed (i.e., just an ambulance or multiple trucks). Once alerted, members respond to the various firehouses in the district to man the apparatus and respond. At the same time, the Chiefs will respond directly to the scene in the Chiefs vehicles.
How Does Utilize Modern Technology?
The Port Washington Fire Department has led the way with groundbreaking technology initiatives within the volunteer fire service on Long Island. Port Washington was the first fire department to receive real-time data from the Nassau County Fire Communications Center via a robust network developed by professionals within the PWFD in conjunction with Alpine Software, the leader in Fire Department management tools.
How Does Someone Become a Member?
Please fill out the “Volunteer Now!” section found on the right side of this website, and someone will be in contact with you.